Keeping your CV concise is essential. In terms of length, 2 pages long is ideal. However, if you’re someone who has a long and detailed career history, it can be hard to sum it all up. It’s important to keep your application as attractive to an employer as possible.
There are a number of ways to do this, even if you have a long career history. First of all, make sure to be ruthless with it. Cut down anything you can and really think of what you’re including. Ask yourself, will this add to my chances of getting the job? If the answer is no, you don’t need to keep it in.
As well as that, look at the description of the job and tailor your CV accordingly. Cut out anything that's not overly relevant. This will not only save space, but it will also help your CV to seem the most focused and most fitting for the job.
Use this tactic when it comes to your previous job positions. Your first job working in a supermarket will not have much bearing on your ability to work as a doctor. If you have a number of different positions in retail that you want to include, list them as “Various retail positions (date - date)”.
You can also do this for jobs that are not relevant to what you are applying for. It could be a position in another field. It could be a position from which you moved to a more senior position. Whatever the case may be, if it’s not going to change the employer’s minds on whether to hire you or not, it’s not needed.
Having a long career history doesn’t always mean that you worked from job to job since you were 17. You could have a number of gaps in employment. It could be gap years, career breaks, sabbaticals or even a hiatus to raise your family.
Cleaning up your CV when you have had a long career history will stand in the favour of job gaps. By this, we mean that you can easily draw attention away from any gaps in employment. You can also use dates to your advantage by leaving the months out and only including years.
Show how you have been proactive with your time off. List volunteer work, courses or hobbies you took up during this period. Use your cover letter to explain the gaps in your CV. Check out our post here about how to explain gaps in your employment for more information.
If you’re someone who has hopped from job to job, combine similar roles together in order to keep your career history concise. Make sure to highlight the most relevant skills and accomplishments from each job, however.
Some industries or job positions will expect job hops, but it’s always good to explain them in your cover letter regardless. It’s essential to specify job hops in the case of being made redundant, to show that it was an involuntary move.
You should also let them know if it was a natural progression of your career to move jobs. Ambition, determination and a willingness to grow will be demonstrated.
Finally, if you have a had a number of short-term positions that have not added to your career progression, leave them out altogether.